Sam walked over to me with a very serious look on his usually smiling face. He put his hand on my right arm, which is a serious gesture on his part. He is not a touchy, feelie kind of guy, more of the fist-to-fist and high five kind.
“We’ve been friends for a long time, right George?”
“Of course Sam, we’ve been buddies since grade school. You know that. And from there to high school, and then to our jobs here working for the same company.”
“I need to tell you something, and you are not to share it with anyone”. He looked around the cafeteria, which had few people in it as ours was the third lunch shift, from one o’clock until one thirty.
“You know me Sam. Your secret won’t leave this table.”
“You remember what happened to Jennifer last week?”
“Of course, it would be very hard to forget. She was humiliated. You are talking about how the fancy coffee machine spilled coffee all over her light-colored outfit when she was making her morning coffee.”
“Well, I have a confession to make. I can’t keep it a secret any longer, or my head will explode. I was the one who rigged the machine. It wasn’t meant for Jennifer. That would be the last thing that I wanted. It was meant for the boss. He is usually the one who uses that machine first in the morning. Who knew that he would be late for work that day? I was so pissed off at how he had treated us the week before, making us help unload the trucks when we are office workers, not warehouse staff. My good shirt got so dirty I had to wash it twice. I wanted to get back at him for what he did.”
“Yeah, I wasn’t too happy about that either. I understand completely my friend.
Jennifer is considered by the men in the company, the most desirable young woman in the office. All of the young men who don’t have wives or girlfriends, and some of those who do, have a keen interest in spending time with her, and so on. Three of them in particular are competing for her affection. Those young men are George, Sam, and Ralph, the latter a colleague, but not a friend of the other two They made for a three person crowd scene at the Christmas party the year before. Each one of the trio wants to gain any advantage he can over the other two in the ‘quest for Jennifer’, as George calls it, but not in front of the other two. Ralph has something of an advantage in the way guys calculate such things in that he has a flash car, while the other two drive old gray Toyota Corollas. We will return now, to George’s narration
I commiserated with George concerning the situation he was in. He was afraid that someone would find out what he had done. He would then lose all chance he had ever had with Jennifer. I told him that it was quite unlikely that anyone could find out. If they had, it would have leaked out by now, like any good story at this workplace. People were always getting involved with everyone else’s business. By the end of our lunch break, I had managed to calm him down. When we left to go to our desks. He said, “Thanks, buddy. I owe you one for this.” “No problem” was my swift and clever reply, thinking in terms of beer.
We parted company, to get back to our separate offices. But what I had just learned did not go away from my thinking. It hung over my head like a crow over roadkill. It would not leave.
George Contemplates the Situation He is now in.
So Sam is the one who caused Jennifer’s humiliating situation. She had to spend the rest of the day with coffee-stained clothes. There were sniggers behind her back when people saw her, and in hushed conversations throughout the day. It would be deadly for Sam’s chances with her if she were to find out the perpetrator somehow. She would hate him forever.
What am I going to do with this secret now? Next time I see Jennifer, part of me, the part that very much wishes to share some time alone with her, wants to name the culprit for her.
I Can’t Stop
I can’t stop thinking about it. I see Jennifer now, and she is looking downward, quite unlike her usual happy demeanor. I want to do something to cheer her up. I have to tell her now. So I walk over to Jennifer and I inform her that I have been doing some investigation into the matter, and after some searching, I found the culprit. I speak a name, and she says, “I’m not surprised. I never really trusted him.” I am surprised a bit by this. I thought she liked him.
After we finish talking, she puts her hand on top of mine, looks into my hopeful eyes, and says, “I have to thank you for this George. Your thoughtfulness have made me feel better. Now I can do something about what happened. I believe that I owe you a dinner.” I am only too happy to oblige her.
I was still basking in the glow of good feeling when the person we were talking about enters the room, and, unfortunately for him, approaches the coffee machine. Jennifer rushes over to beat him to it, and quickly fills up an extra large cup. She then proceeds to dump the coffee onto the most embarrassing part of a man’s body. Others in the room, suspecting what this might be all about, start to applaud. He would now have a hard time convincing them that he is innocent. He just rushes out of the room and over to the men’s washroom to clean himself off, although the dark dampness will still stay for the rest of the working day. Pictures may be taken.
Jennifer and I make specific plans for dinner – the where and when. She then squeezes my hand, and we walk our separate ways.
Just as she leaves the room, Sam enters it.
“What’s going on here? I just heard that Jennifer dumped coffee on Ralph’s crotch. Why?”
“Well, someone told her that Ralph was the one that rigged the coffee machine, and she was just exacting her just revenge.”
“I lied. I would never snitch on a friend. And now I am going to dinner tonight with Jennifer. It’s a win-win.”